Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jacksonville, Florida Goes Full Time Encryption

JFRD To Keep Scanner Info Secret, Too

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Also Disallowing Media, Public Access To Scanners

The trend of encrypting radio traffic on a full time basis is catching on in Florida.  Jacksonville has decided that neither the public nor the media has any expectation of listening in to their radio traffic and their reasons make no sense at all. The Sheriff's Office has first stated cost and then security concerns, unable to keep a straight story. 
The bottom line is that keeping the public from hearing everyday communications is an act of communism, and fosters distrust between the city's Public Safety community and the citizens they serve. Encryption is usually reserved for sensitive operations that could be otherwise jeopardized without it. Full time encryption of all communications is a waste of money, and serves no real useful purpose other than to snub the public who are oftentimes law abiding and serve as the extra eyes and ears of their local, county, and state Public Safety Departments. 

Media outlets make a good argument for public reception of Public Safety Radio traffic in that it allows motorists and other community members to plan alternate routes around emergency scenes and serves to keep the media able to inform the community of safety hazards. When public Safety Departments get to chose how and when to notify the public of important events, the community usually only gets a sanitized version of events that is oftentimes found to be full of disinformation and notification usually only comes many hours or weeks AFTERWARDS. 

Using the argument of "security and privacy" or the now cliche' "9/11" excuse does not an actual homeland security issue make. In the absence of an actual trend of criminal use of Public Safety radio communications or use of such to facilitate criminal acts, and in the absence of a trend of people using communications  to interfere with Public Safety duties / emergency scenes, full time encryption is just an indicator of a Department that has something to hide. This is straight fact, not opinion.
Shame on you Jacksonville!  

Microwave Antenna Suffers Acorn Malfunction

Woodpecker drills hole in microwave antenna, fills it with acorns.
You would be surprised how full a microwave antenna can get when you drop acorns in it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

GMDSS and EPIRBS Communications Systems

Sorry, Part 2 of this was never found! Only Parts 3 and 4 are available at this time. 

Tetra Over IP For Amateur Radio Use

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Image Of Radio - Operators, Listeners, Content

Radio saw its larger than life popularity from the early 1900s to about the early to mid 90s. Old programs that were innovative, entertaining, comical, and light hearted brought families together. Families used radio as a way to bond in the days before computers gave us a wider audience. Before TV, there was radio.

Before we get to the heart of the matter we'll talk about radio operators. A radio operator in the minds of most people are the old time military men and women who performed voice and morse code duties. Radio ops were thought of along the lines of CB'ers with illegal amps who caused havoc with your home electronics, and Licensed Radio Amateurs who were math and electronics geniuses who erected huge antennas to speak with strangers of the world. As radio became commercialized, radio ops were then thought of in a broader sense as DJ's, on-air personalities, and corporations. 

With the growth of radio came the various audiences with a taste each to their own for different types of radio. The oldest forms of radio being shortwave, SSB (HF),  and AM. Long ago, stations were more than happy to ask for or respond to voluntary reception reports. They used these reports to know about how their antenna systems and transmitters were working. Stations also used these reports to study propagation patterns and gain listeners.

Avid radio listeners became known as SWL's even if they were not into the shortwave scene. It was the mid 90s when stations started to notice the demographic of their various audiences, and they also noticed that this demographic mostly consisted of people who just wanted free swag and had little to no attention span in regards to content. This isn;t to say that audiences are not out here that are interested in content, just that they are largely for whatever reason, unheard from.

This demographic created an image problem. Contributing to the image problem was the fact that stations were now confused as to what their audience is listening to and actually sticking around to enjoy. Not long ago, this publication did a piece on Burt - K1OIK from the Eastern United States, and he talked about the image of amateur radio operators with quite a bit of honesty.

Unfortunately, this same image is what stations have of their listeners, especially the shortwave and AM broadcasters. years ago, economic challenges and the advent of computers meant that stations could actually not have such a big reliance upon "On-Air Personalities". Programming started to suffer from quality issues. The quality issues meant that content was not what it could be. Only a handful of shortwave and AM broadcasters have any idea about what good content is anymore. The image of radio is on the decline and desperately needs saving.

Communication is about content and vice versa. SWL's need to stop worrying about so many technical issues and really start to appreciate these stations for what on-air content they offer.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crew Of Atlantis STS-135, NASA Space Centers Nationwide Close Out Space Shuttle Program Permanently

July 8th, 2011,  and July 21st, 2011 will forever be bittersweet days for anyone who has ever held a career in aviation or the NASA Space Program. From those who first conceived the final space shuttle design to those who built each and every part of the shuttle and then those who flew the world's most advanced and magnificent space flight machine; those who provided weather services, guidance, and communications as well as the endless list of others involved with the shuttle program, the emotions are wide ranged.

The final shuttle mission did not ONLY bring about the end of our shuttle program, but also made space communications history. There is no space program or space flight operation that can work without a well trained crew of professional communicators who put their hearts into their work just the same as the other people who work within such a huge mega - science program.

Shortwave America will now pay tribute to a dream that became reality by providing the final touchdown video, and select final shuttle mission photos and video. Let's start with CAPCOM Houston in Texas!

CAPCOM Houston guides Atlantis back to earth, acting as their life link

STS-135 says farewell the the Expedition 28 crew

Final touchdown of Atlantis, ending the space shuttle program
STS-135 Crew poses with Atlantis as backdrop for the final time

Final touchdown information directly from NASA: 12 Days/18:27:56 Mission Elapsed Time (MET) – main gear touchdown (days/hours:minutes:seconds)

Final stats for STS-135

Atlantis re-entry as photographed by the Expedition 28 crew aboard the ISS

Atlantis astronaut welcome home party information

The STS-135 Final Flight Facebook Page provided pre-flight, final launch, mission updates, and final touchdown coverage in real time. Just as Atlantis was re-entering earth's atmosphere, "Carbon Flight" also known in real life as Ed Van Cise, who is a NASA Flight Control Director in Houston, joined the live coverage as the 600th member of the page. NASA STS-135 Mission Control Photos

Welcome home, Atlantis! Atlantis' final resting place will be the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "On the shoulders of the space shuttle, America will continue the dream!" - George Diller.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Restatement Of Shortwave America Comments Policy

In the last 24 hours, an anonymous person posted in the comments section on a post more than 14 days old which means that comment moderation is in effect. This comment was the most vile, hateful, and violent this publication has received to date.

Shortwave America and its staff are all completely in favor of free speech with no apologies, however, we will not publish comments that are overtly hateful, violent, or espouse hate based on a person's protected class such as "Disability, sexual orientation, race, gender, ethnicity, faith based beliefs, or protected diplomatic / protected legal immigrant / legal alien resident status." Shortwave America also will not publish material or comments that are defamatory, slanderous, or libelous.

That said, in order to keep Shortwave America a safe place for all visitors, Shortwave America is weighing the possibility of criminal and / or civil prosecution of the person who left the most recent comment. The contents of this comment were so horrible that it will NOT be published here for any reason. All we have to say is that this anonymous commenter should really be ashamed of themselves and consider seeking professional clinical help.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Interval Signals Dot Net - More Than Meets The Eye

                         INTERVAL SIGNALS ONLINE
Maintained by David Kernick, in cooperation with Documentary Archives Radio Communications -

Interval Signals Online is a well established website dedicated to what most people know as "station ID's". Usually, it is only the radio professionals, radio enthusiasts and radio geeks who know the value of station ID and station signal tests. The whole goal of sites like ISO, Shortwave America, Shortwave Central,, Media Network Plus, and the whole long list of other sites dedicated to radio is to let these stations know they are being heard. Stations want to know that they have an audience.

Over the decades that shortwave radio has served the masses, an image problem has come full circle. This image problem is to the detriment of the listening public. CC Radio has, over the recent years, produced commercials bolstering the ability of their radios to receive the two meter amateur radio band where most of the trained Skywarn Spotters make their reports nationwide via various radio repeater systems that receive on one frequency and simultaneously re-transmit that radio traffic on an output frequency. 

The whole idea here is advertising!  ISO posts recorded radio station identification transmissions and station signal tests in the same way an advertisement would be posted for those collectors of commercials from various TV and Radio Networks. 

Going through the ISO archives, Shortwave America found a rather neat gem of a station ID from The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation otherwise known as SBC before the giant of the telephone company had the SBC moniker. 

This recording is from RSR-3 Couleur produced in French, Spanish, and English. As you listen, you can hear a VERY UNIQUE mix of music styles, voices, and cultures that will not ever be heard anywhere else. LISTEN HERE 

Another gem of a recording comes from the ISO "Mainland - China Radio International" archives. What you are about to hear is titled "CNR 9th Program - Story Radio" produced in Mandarin and English. Now, for those of you who remember the Olympics being held in China, here is a collectible item produced in English, Mandarin, and Japanese called "Olympic Radio". 

From Interval Signal Online's OFFSHORE Collection comes items like: 

The Arutz Sheva Foreign Service ID produced in Russian, Hebrew, French, and English. 

Laser Hot Hits, vintage 1987!!!, Radio Caroline North - vintage 1964, Radio Caroline South - vintage 1967, and Skanes Radio Mercur - vintage 1958/59 from Sweden. From the Netherlands, we have the Radio Noordzee International - vintage 1971 produced in Dutch. Recognize the address? It is the old Radio Netherlands International address! 

The ISO Italy Archives has a true GEM of a recording, vintage 1924 in Italian from Unione Radiofonica Italiana. Obviously, Interval Signals Online is not to be missed or easily dismissed. 

Closing out this piece for tonight, here is an ABI Special Broadcast via Tashkent which is both an interval signal and an ID in Japanese, Mandarin, and English.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chicago Police Arrest Father Of Chicago Police Sgt: Scanner Radio Possession

Illinois does not have any laws against purchasing, owning, or using a radio receiver otherwise known to most in layman's terms as a "Scanner" or "Police Scanner". Illinois law only states that a person shall not use a scanner or other radio communications device to commit a crime or further a crime. Word has recently been received via the Chicago Metro Section of Radio Reference and confirmed via Second City Cop, that Chicago Police have arrested the father of a Chicago Police Sgt. for "possession of a scanner radio" although there is no such city ordinance or state law.

Word of this arrest came about at Radio Reference during a discussion of Illinois Law in these matters from a user stating he is a press member and wanted to be able to comply with any possible laws in place. At Second City Cop, word of this arrest came about during the commenting session about Chicago Aldermen proposing an earlier curfew for children under 12 years old with the article titled "More Curfew Non-Sense". 

Screen shots are provided below. Shortwave America is investigating this incident.

This is the second time in four years that Chicago Police have acted unreasonably towards a person with wide frequency coverage radio gear. The last incident happened in CPD's 14th District when tactical officers attempted the arrest of a person licensed by the FCC as an Amateur Radio Operator, and in possession of a UHF hand-held transceiver who was operating while walking down Milwaukee Ave. That incident triggered a C.R.# and an investigation of the involved officers for misconduct and violation of FCC PR91-36.

Editor's extra note: Prior to these two incidents, Chicago Police were rumored to have acted in a crackdown in 2004 on Chicago's South side, on a large group of radio enthusiasts belonging to a loosely knit group known as "Chicago Listeners" who were accused of unknown radio related offenses, but never charged. At that time, statements from those involved were said to have blamed a group called "CARMA", an established group of radio enthusiasts with no history of radio related misbehavior and overseen by experienced law enforcement professionals.

Shortwave America has spoken with News Affairs Officer O'Brien with the Chicago Police Department who states that "there have not been any notifications made at this time regarding an incident like this". However, O'Brien did say that the information given in these screen captures was too vague to even track down accurate verification and that he would need names, times, and location.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tribute To Marciea Adkins, Chicago Police Dispatcher

Today, Shortwave America learned more about Police Dispatcher Marciea Adkins and more about her death via SCC quoting Assistant Illinois State's Attorney Costello who says that young Mr. Harrison who killed this fine, hard working human being, wife and mother, committed his crime by way of the following facts:

 Quoted word for word:
"Harrison drank vodka, smoked marijuana and took ecstasy before he stole a car and crashed into a 911 police dispatcher, killing her as he tried to elude officers Preliminary tests showed that Marquis Harrison’s blood-alcohol level was .186. Minutes before Adkins was hit, Harrison stole the Range Rover while the 45-year-old owner of the SUV fed a parking meter box on North Michigan Avenue The motorist had left the Range Rover running when Harrison, who told police he drank and took drugs at a party, jumped in, Costello said. Harrison was previously sentenced to probation as a juvenile for two counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle in Kane County, Costello said.

He is an honors student at Urban Prep Charter Academy and plays football and basketball, assistant public defender Preston Collins said."

With these horrific details out of the way, we now know that Mrs. Adkins was a dispatcher on CPD Zone 1 as PD61 on the 1st Watch covering CPD's 16th and 17th districts on 460.475Mhz. (PL107.2)

Details about Marciea's final services:
Wake Wednesay: St Josephat Church 2311 N Southport 3-9pm
Funeral Thursday: viewing 9 to 10 and Mass @ 10

To close this out, Shortwave America would like to give a voice to those on Zone 1 by quoting PD41 on 2nd Watch and a few others from Zone 1 who knew her.

"RIP Marciea.

As I walked past you each morning at shift change, you greeted me in your gangsta voice .."morning , keep up da good work protectin my hood". I would thank you for doing the same on 1st watch, for keeping my home and family safe in 016.

We did what we could to get you help that tragic morning, but God called you home.

As my parnter and I stood solemly as were escorted out of the ambulance, I could hear you saying..."morning ladies, you are my bestie friends in the whole wide world". Marciea...YOU were the BESTIE fried to all of us at OEMC!

You will be missed and in our hearts forever.

2nd Watch PD41"



"Marcia was 1st watch on Zone 1. She relieved us every night by coming up from roll call with a joke and a smile on her face. She
was MJ's partner. She was a bright spot in the day for all of us who work in a place without many bright spots. She will be remembered for the happy and gleeful person she was. Will will all miss her greatly. So sad."

"I was talking to her brother Mark just last week, reminiscing the old days where we all grew up.
If you grew up in South Deering, it wasn't the same place it is today. It was a tough, blue collar neighborhood that had it's share of problems like any other. The challenges were many but so were the opportunities if you had spirit. The steel mills were in full swing and there were many good families that struggled to make a better life for themselves.

The same could be said for growing up in the Trumbull Park Homes. Marci came from there and was always good natured, good humored and always quick with her wit and her lovely smile. She was a scrappy young lady that grew into a beautiful woman in so many ways. Marci's spirit embodied the goodness that overcomes adversity and allows the human spirit to float like the wind and brush the cheek of many as it blows ever so gently past.

I remember her spirit when she worked at Service Merchandise in the East Side Plaza. I knew that once you spoke to Marci, no matter how bad a day you could be having, Marci's twinkle in her eye and demeanor would snap you out of it. The world will be a little duller and a not as bright a place without her in it. My condolences to her husband and the entire Tighe and Adkins family. In my mind's eye, her Irish eyes will always be smiling.
Carlos Medina. #055 "

"All cars stand by for a moment. We changin' voices on the zone." - Anonymous

Marciea L. Adkins, nee Tighe, 42 yrs., suddenly July 10, 2011, beloved wife of William J. (CFD); loving and devoted mother of Gillian; fond sister of Michael (Leslie), Margaret (Tony), Mary (Richard) Boyle, Maureen and Mark; dearest aunt of Kristopher and Lauren. Visitation at St. Josaphat Church, 2311 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60614 on Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. and on Thursday from 9 a.m. until time of Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Interment St. Mary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, kindly make donations to Chicago Patrolman Federal Credit Union, 1407 W. Washington Ave., Chicago, IL 60607, Attn: Marciea Adkins Fund. 800-326-8814. Funeral Info: Ewald-Barlock Funeral Home 773-549-0098

Credit to the Second City 911 Blog for the information!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saluting Marciea Adkins - Chicago 911 Police Dispatcher

Marciea Adkins is correctly being remembered as a caring, positive person who loved her city and her job as a Chicago Office Of Emergency Management and Communications 911 Police Radio Dispatcher. Police are remembering her as the voice link that has helped keep them safe on the streets with expert radio communications skills and fast thinking.

A 16 year old accused subject being charged as an adult with 1st degree murder, one felony count of burglary, a misdemeanor of driving under the influence, police said, is in custody after fleeing police after they stopped him for running a red light. At that time, the accused then backed up into a police Sgt.'s vehicle at the traffic stop scene and fled in the stolen Range Rover. "Police had tried to pull over the stolen sport-utility vehicle at Elston Avenue and Blackhawk Street" per Chicago's ABC 7's news report.

The ABC 7 news report goes on to say that "The SUV ran a stop sign while driving north on Hoyne, then struck Adkins’ car, which was headed west on Armitage. The SUV then hit a parked car and the driver fled the scene on foot, but was arrested a short time later."

ABC 7 News Video HERE 

Other news coverage can be seen at the Second City 911 blog

Marci's remains were escorted by a team of Chicago Emergency Responders from both the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department from Illinois Masonic Hospital on the city's North Side to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Marci was a mother of a young child and a wife of a Chicago Fire Department Dispatcher.

Chicago Police are so far refusing to release the defendant's name although he is charged as an adult and Illinois law provides for the names of accused adults to be publicly released. In the video, you will see the defendant on a CFD ambulance gurney from the side view.

Marci, thank you for your service to your city! Thank you for being the voice of Chicago residents and police on the zones. You lived well and you finished well, Marci. Rest in peace! Shortwave America leaves deep condolences to Marci's family and especially her husband and young child who has had her mother unjustifiably taken from her by a remorseless, cold blooded, monster.

***UPDATE*** 11:50AM CDT: Chicago Police have released the name of the offender. He is now identified as Marquis Harrison, of the 200 block of South Lotus Avenue

Friday, July 8, 2011

Final Flight STS-135 Atlantis Lift Off Video

Credit to NASA

Atlantis Mission STS-135 - The Final Flight


The FINAL Flight of our Space Shuttle program will end when Shuttle Atlantis lifts off from launchpad 39A THIS MORNING at 11:26AM EDT. Along with this historic event, we will also witness space communications history, as CAPCOM will NEVER EVER utter the words "The shuttle has cleared the tower"  again. We will never again hear mission control guide the shuttle around nor will they ever perform their other shuttle duties again. 

George Diller was the distinctive voice behind the countdown and launch commentary at NASA. Quoting a "First Coast News" interview with Diller: ""My first launch commentary was for Atlantis, STS-27, my last, STS-135, is going to be Atlantis on Friday." "I fell in love with it.  It's nice not to have to work for a living," he joked.

"There's a little apprehension.  There's a lot of concentration. You don't have time to be nervous about it because you're so focused on the last 31 seconds. That's where rubber meets the road. You're either gonna launch or you're not." "Everyone wants to know what my lift-off line is," he said. "I've got part of it, not the end of it."

Image Credit: NASA and First Coast News. George Diller Stands By the NASA Countdown Clock

Farewell to our shuttle program, and to the astronauts who worked so hard to educate the world about the universe above us and around us. Let us all remember those astronauts who gave their lives in the pursuit of science, education, and understanding. Someone who knew the importance of the space shuttle program to our nation and the world at large has created a Facebook Page that has gone viral over the last day or two, called simply "STS-135 The Final Space Shuttle Flight". You can see the page publicly and join by clicking here.

The STS-135 Final Flight page is full of shuttle history, facts, final mission information updates, videos, photos, and files. Thanks, NASA, for all the years of memories created during the shuttle program!

As for shuttle frequencies for STS-135: 259.700 AM is the main frequency you want to concentrate on. Also try sweeping the HF frequencies from 10.000.00Khz up through the beginning of the ten meter band at 28.300.00Khz.  KU4AY has a huge Space Shuttle Frequency listing here

AMSAT has Amateur Radio shuttle re-broadcast audio freqs here (May be out of date??)

Space Shuttle HF through UHF and higher freq listing (KD4CGA)

Here is the link to George W. Fetter's space shuttle frequency listings.

No chatter has been happening at Space Coast Comms or other groups regarding this final shuttle mission. NASA states that manned spaceflight will indeed resume with a new space transport vehicle, but no date has been announced.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New York Radio Regulation Pirate Bill Runs Afoul Of FCC Part 15 Rules

John Poet tells us about this ominous threat to unlicensed FCC Part 15 rules.

In all of this, one cannot help but smell the foul odor of big broadcasting companies such as WNBC, ABC, CNN, and others trying to silence everyone but their own interests. FCC rules always have and always will take precedence, even if New York has to learn the hard way about how radio communications laws actually work and who actually has sole authority over radio and TV communications.

Plenty of case law is out here to trump New York in an embarrassing manner. Are there are communications attorneys out here who would like to take a shot at a Federal lawsuit before this bill imprisons innocent people using FRS, CB, and local low power broadcast systems? Radio amateurs with proper licensing are also in the cross hairs of this legislation because none of these radio communications are mentioned in the bill!!! John makes a good point when he states that police and prosecutors have no way of differentiating between pirate radio and FCC allowed FM and AM operations with or without a license.

One mistake Shortwave America can see coming is that properly licensed radio operations can be legally pursued because an amateur radio license does not allow broadcasting and none of the city attorneys, state prosecutors, or police are trained to know the difference between a one way broadcast and a two way radio conversation regardless of whether the station is required to be licensed by the FCC or not.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Shortwave America wishes everyone all over the nation a happy & safe Independence Day!